Useful definitions

Academic Decision An undergraduate student’s progression status in their program as determined by their final grades at the end of each academic session (e.g. Eligible to Proceed). Academic decisions appear on students’ grade report
academic dishonesty Academic dishonesty refers to inappropriate academic conduct. It includes impersonation, plagiarism, cheating and copying the work of others. If you are found guilty of academic dishonesty, it may result in serious consequences such as being debarred (expelled) from the University. If you are an applicant and you have forged (altered) documents or have misrepresented yourself, your application may be cancelled and other institutions you have applied to will be informed.
admission Admission is the term we use when we allow you to study at the University.
advanced secondary studies Refer to standardized qualifications or studies that offer students an opportunity to study in an academically challenging program or courses to prepare them for postsecondary studies. Programs or courses completed with specific grades or averages are eligible for transfer credit. Some examples include Advanced Placement (A levels) or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) Diploma.
advanced standing Credit granted towards a York University graduate degree or diploma for graduate-level courses completed at York or another post-secondary institution that have not been used to fulfill the requirements of another degree program or graduate diploma.
advising appointment See enrolment appointment.
affidavit A sworn statement made under oath to a lawyer or notary public. Affidavits may be submitted by applicants who cannot provide original documents of their academic history. In most cases, applicants who have pursued studies outside Canada may submit an affidavit due to political unrest in their home country or if the institution they attended is now closed.
alternative offer

If your application does not meet the requirements for your first program of choice, York may extend to you an “alternative offer” of admission to a similar program, provided that you meet the average cut-off for the program. For example, Schulich applicants may be offered a place in one of three Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies programs: Public Policy & Management, Human Resources Management or Bachelor of Administrative Studies – Information Technology.

During your enrolment appointment, you may ask your adviser about ways to include your original interest in the new program. For most programs, there are opportunities available to add a minor area of study to your program or a double major.

Articulation Agreement Articulation agreements are designed to build strong partnerships between community colleges and universities. It is a signed Agreement between York and a college that specifies the number of transfer credits granted for completion of a specific college program and approximate length of time required to finish a specific degree. Some agreements identify how the credit granted will be applied toward a specific degree program.
audit An audit is the term used when you attend a course without being required to submit assignments or write tests or examinations. You are not awarded credit for any course that you audit and tuition fees must still be paid.
Bachelor's degree, Honours Bachelor's degree A Bachelor's degree is a degree which normally takes three years to complete, if you are studying full-time. An Honours Bachelor's degree is a degree which normally takes four years to complete, if you are studying full-time. An honours degree is normally required for admission to a graduate (Master's) program.
Block Transfer Credit Refers to a specific amount of credit granted based on a completed certificate, diploma or degree and is accepted for transfer credit into a degree program. Block transfer credit may also be granted for completion of a minimum of two semesters in a certificate or diploma program.
bursary A bursary is an award based on financial need, which does not have to be paid back once you have completed your studies. There are requirements, both academic and non-academic, that must be fulfilled in order to be granted the award. To apply for a bursary at York, you must already have been admitted.
calendar The Calendar is the University’s official reference document for all academic programs, policies and requirements.
certificate Certificates are designed to provide you with the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge in a specialized field. They are often of a shorter duration than a degree, ranging from two to three semesters and can be completed along with a degree or after completing a degree.
Collaborative Programs A collaborative program is one in which several schools work together to provide comprehensive education programs. This occurs when colleges and universities partner to provide the smaller, more hands-on approach at the college level while degree-level courses are provided by the larger university. Transfer credit is granted per the agreement.
Collaborative Specialization  
college The word "college" has several different meanings, which probably contributes to the confusion surrounding the term. The most common way we use the term is to refer to a community college (i.e. Seneca College, Humber College). However, at York University, "college" has another meaning. York is divided into seven colleges, which are like small neighbourhoods within the larger University, each with its own academic focus. All undergraduate students select a college to affiliate with at their enrolment appointment. Each college is a community of students, professors and staff, and includes residence rooms, coffee shops, lounges, computer facilities, study rooms and classrooms.
Combined Degree Program A program of study involving two existing degree programs of different types in which successful completion of the requirements is confirmed by a separate and different degree document being awarded by each program. The combination may comprise two graduate programs, two undergraduate programs or a graduate and an undergraduate program. The combination typically involves at least one “professionally” oriented program. The programs may be structured such that students pursue the two programs concurrently or consecutively. It is an Intra-University type of degree program
conditional admission When we make an offer of admission, it sometimes includes "conditions". For instance, we may have reviewed your application based on mid-term grades and offered you conditional admission. The condition is that you submit your final grades when they become available. If your final grades do not meet the standards of your mid-term grades, your offer of admission may be revoked. If you have been offered "conditional admission", your offer of admission letter will make this clear and outline the steps you need to take to meet the condition.
confirm Confirm means "to make certain or establish". When we send out an offer of admission, we always ask you to "confirm" the offer. What we're asking is that you let us know whether you accept or decline the offer.
convocation Convocation is a graduation ceremony during which you are awarded your degree.
Co-requisite A course that must be taken simultaneously with another course
Core Courses Mandatory specified courses within an undergraduate program that provide a solid theoretical foundation and / or convey a common body of disciplinary knowledge and skills.
Cotutelle A customized program of doctoral study developed jointly by two institutions for an individual student in which the requirements of each university’s doctoral programs are upheld, but the student working with supervisors at each institution prepares a single dissertation which is then examined by a committee whose members are drawn from both institutions. The student is awarded two degree documents though there is a notation on the transcripts indicating that the student completed his or her dissertation under Cotutelle arrangements. It is an Inter-Institutional type of degree program.
Course Credit Exclusion A formal status accorded to sets of undergraduate or graduate courses that are recognized as having sufficient overlap in content. Although the courses may have a significant degree of overlap, they are not considered fully equivalent / interchangeable. Students do not receive credit for both / all courses in a designated set of CCE's. See Senate Guidelines and Procedures Governing Course Cross-listings, Exclusions and Substitutions.
course description A course description is an outline of the main content, organization and expected outcome of a course. It normally includes a description of the course content, the number of credits awarded, hours of class, tutorials, laboratory time and required textbooks. Course descriptions are used to determine your eligibility for transfer credit.
course description waiver You may have to complete this form if you have studied at an accredited postsecondary institution outside Canada and cannot submit institutionally-prepared course descriptions.
course credit exclusion A course credit exclusion is a course that is sufficiently similar to another course that credit will not be given to you twice if you take both courses. 
Course Substitution A descriptive term applied when a course is recognized as sufficiently similar to a required course in a degree program, certificate or diploma. Substitutions may be programmatic and offered to all students or individualized for a student with departmental or program approval. See Senate Guidelines and Procedures Governing Course Cross-listings, Exclusions and Substitutions.
credits Credits can be compared to ‘"points". Each York course you take is assessed on the basis of a certain number of credits. Generally, most half-year courses are worth three credits and full-year courses are worth six credits. A full course load for the September to April session is five full courses, which, at six credits each, is 30 credits in total.
cross-listed courses Courses jointly recognized by two or more teaching units, with one unit designated as the course originator. All instances of cross-listed courses are the same course with different identifiers most commonly utilized to signify relevance to more than one particular discipline. See Senate Guidelines and Procedures Governing Course Cross-listings, Exclusions and Substitutions.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) The weighted average based on grades obtained in courses taken over all academic sessions.
curriculum A curriculum is the content of a course.
debarment Debarment refers to being required to withdraw from the University, usually because of an unsatisfactory academic record or a record that does not show academic improvement.
deferral A deferral is a postponement of your admission to York. Newly admitted first-year students for September entry may request a deferral. Requests must be made in writing, along with a reason for requesting the deferral. We look at each request on an individual basis and respond with our decision in writing.
degree An academic credential awarded upon successful completion of a prescribed set of requirements that meet a standard of performance as defined by the University.
degree completion See transfer credit
Degree Level Expectations Frameworks describing what students should know, and be able to do, after successful completion of a degree program at the bachelors, masters and doctoral degree levels.
Degree Option

A category of undergraduate degree program that has a defined number of degree credit requirements and, where applicable, a minimum number of major credits. They include:

Honours: An undergraduate degree option; it requires the completion of a minimum of 120 credits and a minimum of 42 major credits.

Specialized Honours: An undergraduate degree option; it requires the completion of a minimum of 120 credits and a minimum of 54 major credits.

Bachelor: An undergraduate degree option; it requires the completion of a minimum of 90 credits and a minimum of 30 major credits.

Degree Program A prescribed set of courses, combination of courses and / or other forms of study, research or experiential learning that collectively support the achievement of defined degree level expectations and program learning outcomes for an undergraduate or graduate program.
delayed entry Delayed entry refers to programs that cannot be entered directly out of high school, such as Education or Creative Writing, or programs where it is possible to enter after one year of university, such as the Bachelor of Business Administration.
department Departments are dedicated to separate fields of study, i.e. Department of History, Department of Philosophy, etc.

A deposit is a partial payment or security on something that is going to be purchased. You have to pay a $300 deposit after enrolling in courses*. The balance is billed to you through Student Accounts Statements which are sent out on the 18th of each month through your online student account. Information about paying your account can be found here.

Specific and more detailed information about the payment of tuition and supplemental fees will be provided with your enrolment materials after you have been admitted to the university.

*Current Ontario high-school students will not be required to submit this deposit prior to their offer of admission acceptance deadline.


A for-credit program of study at the graduate level, which is not itself a Masters or Doctoral degree program, in a specific area, topic or skill, that may be of a disciplinary or interdisciplinary character. A diploma may be awarded when a candidate admitted to a masters program leaves the program after completing a certain proportion of the requirements (Type 1); offered in conjunction with a masters or doctoral degree, the admission to which requires that the candidate be already admitted to the Masters (or Doctoral) program (Type 2); or be offered as a stand-alone, direct-entry program, generally developed by a unit already offering a related Masters or Doctoral degree, and designed to meet the needs of a particular clientele or market (Type 3).

direct entry Direct entry refers to someone who is coming to university directly from high school, with no previous postsecondary education.
distance education Distance education is a method of pursuing your education by taking courses through correspondence or the Internet.
Double Major An Honours degree option that includes concentrated sets of courses in two major subject areas for which students receive one Honours undergraduate degree with both majors identified on their transcript.
Dual Credential Program A program of study offered by two or more universities or by a university and a college or institute, including Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning, in which successful completion of the requirements is confirmed by a separate and different degree/diploma document being awarded by at least two of the participating institutions, of which one is York University. It is an Inter-Institutional type of degree program.
elective(s) Course(s) outside the prescribed set of program requirements, chosen by students and which count towards the total number of credits required for the degree.
English proficiency English proficiency refers to a student's ability to speak, write and understand English. If your first language is not English, you are required to demonstrate a certain proficiency in English so that you will be able to handle the demands of university-level studies in English.
enrol Enrol is the term used for signing up for the courses you will take in a particular year or term. At York, the only way to enrol in courses is through the Internet.
enrolment appointment All newly admitted students to York University must attend an enrolment appointment. At this appointment you will meet with an adviser who will help you select your courses and make sure you are familiar with the requirements of your degree.
exchange program An exchange program is an option that enables you to spend one or two semesters of your degree program at a university in another country. This allows you to gain exposure to another country's perspective in your field of education or chosen career path. York University has developed partnerships with schools around the world to add an international experience to your studies.
exchange students Exchange students are students involved in an exchange program.
exemption A course that is granted transfer credit from another institution that is sufficiently similar to a specific course offered at York. Transfer credit is forfeited if you choose to take a York course that has an exemption.
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Faculty / faculty When the word Faculty is spelled with a capital "F" (i.e. Faculty of Health, Faculty of Education) it refers to an academic unit of the University. There are 10 Faculties at York (Education, Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, Glendon, Graduate Studies, Health, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Osgoode, Science & Engineering, Schulich School of Business).

When spelled with a small "f" (i.e. faculty), it is another word for professor. 
Field (Graduate) In graduate programs, an area of concentration that is related to the demonstrable and collective strengths of the program’s faculty members. There are no requirements associated with a field, and they are not recorded on either the academic transcript or the degree parchment.
Grade Point Average (GPA) The weighted average based on grades obtained in courses taken. The GPA is assessed at the end of an academic session and cumulatively to degree completion.
graduate student A graduate student is someone who has completed a Bachelor's degree and is working toward either a Master's or Doctoral degree.
graduate/graduation To graduate means to have completed all credits and courses required for a degree program, and to be awarded a degree.
grandparented rules "Grandparented rules" allow students to complete their studies following the rules of the programs they were in prior to a particular session. This includes all major and degree requirements including general education requirements and upper level requirements, as well as the electives or required credits outside the major.
humanities Humanities is a degree program offered by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Humanities devotes particular attention to the different ways people in various times and places have expressed religious, philosophical, moral, and aesthetic ideas and values. More degree programs >>
institutionally prepared If you are required, as part of the admission process, to send documents to York from an institution (school/college/university) you have attended in the past, you usually have to have these documents sent directly from the institution to York University in a signed and sealed envelope. This is what we mean when we refer to 'institutionally-prepared'. The institution has to prepare and send the documents directly to us. Examples of documents which must be institutionally-prepared include transcripts and course descriptions. See also 'official'.
interdisciplinary An interdisciplinary program is a program that offers a selection of courses from a range of different areas. For instance, if you were to major in Communication Studies, you would be taking courses from areas such as: Linguistics; Social Science; Sociology; Political Science; Humanities; Psychology.
international student An international student is a student who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada and who requires a student authorization to study in Canada.
joint degree program A program of study offered by two or more universities or by a university and a college or institute, including an Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, in which successful completion of the requirements is confirmed by a single degree document. It is an Inter-Institutional type of degree program.
laboratory (lab) Labs are classes held for science students for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. For example, you would attend a Biology lab to dissect a frog and record the results of the experiment.
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language proficiency test A language proficiency test measures your ability to speak, write and understand a particular language. Because we want to ensure that you are able to satisfy the demands of university-level coursework in English, if your first language is not English (or French for Glendon applicants), you must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting the results of a language proficiency test. We accept several language proficiency tests: TOEFL, YELT or IELTS.
Learning Outcomes Define what a student should know, and be able to do, after successful completion of an assignment, activity, class, course or program.
lecture A lecture is a type of class in which the professor gives a formal talk about a particular topic.
lecture schedule A lecture schedule is an agenda of classes offered in a particular academic session, including course name, time and location. Registered students of the University need the lecture schedule in order to complete their timetable for the academic year.
letter of permission A Letter of Permission or LOP is issued to a student who has been approved to take a course at another accredited university towards their York degree.
liberal arts Traditionally, the liberal arts refers to the study of three main branches of knowledge: the humanities (literature, language, philosophy, the fine arts, and history); the physical and biological sciences and mathematics; and the social sciences (psychology, economics, political science). More recently, the term refers to A group of studies that includes arts, humanities, language and literature.

In July 2009, York will open a new Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.
limited enrolment Limited enrolment programs have a restricted number of spaces and in most cases require a supplementary application or audition/evaluation in addition to a successful academic record. Admission to these programs is often very competitive.
major A primary concentration of courses taken in a subject area within an undergraduate degree program. Normally, a major requires at least 30 of the 90 credits required for a bachelors degree or 42 of the 120 credits required for an Honours degree
Major Credits A structured set of courses specifically designated for inclusion in the undergraduate program requirements, either mandatory or among a list of options for students to choose. May include or be in addition to core courses.
mini-calendar See calendar.
Minor A secondary concentration of courses taken in one subject area within an Honours degree. Normally, a minor requires at least 30 of the 120 credits required. Minors are not available in a bachelors degree.
non-degree students Non-degree students are students who already hold a degree and who wish to take additional courses for purposes such as professional development, upgrading or meeting requirements for graduate studies. Non-degree students are sometimes called "visiting students".
offer rescinded

Offer rescinded means your offer of admission to York has been reconsidered and revoked. York will rescind or cancel your offer of admission if you do not meet one or more of the conditions of admission stated in your offer letter. Should your grades drop below Faculty or program cutoffs, we reserve the right to revoke your offer of admission.

We will be in touch with you by e-mail and hard-copy mail once a rescind decision is made. Having your offer rescinded will result in your removal from any courses in which you have enrolled. If you are eligible for a refund of fees, Student Financial Services will mail a cheque to your address.

Should there be extenuating circumstances that you believe significantly affected your ability to meet the terms of your admission, you may appeal this decision with written documentation (i.e. letter, grade report, supporting evidence such as a medical certificate etc.).

offer withdrawn

“Offer withdrawn” means your offer of admission to York is no longer on the table. The University typically will withdraw your offer of admission if:

  • you do not maintain your admission average;
  • you do not meet the conditions mentioned in your Offer of Admission Letter;
  • you do not confirm your acceptance by the deadline stated in your Offer of Admission Letter; and
  • you do not book your Enrolment Appointment by the deadline stated in your Offer of Admission Letter.
official Official documents are documents that have been produced and authorized by an educational institution. Transcripts, for instance, to be considered "official", either come to our office directly from the educational institution or in an institutionally-sealed envelope. To obtain admission to York University, you are required to submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions.
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petition A petition is an appeal to a decision.
postsecondary Postsecondary education refers to education completed after high school.
practicum course A practicum course provides hands-on experience to enhance your academic studies. It is most commonly offered in programs like education, kinesiology, social work or health studies. A practicum allows you to practice what you have learned in the classroom, under supervision. It is similar to a co-op placement or an internship.
prerequisite A requirement to successfully complete another course, set of courses or achieve a specific grade in a course (or overall GPA) before enrolment in an undergraduate or graduate course.
Professional Masters A graduate program comprised of advanced studies in professional or applied fields. They may have strong theoretical underpinnings, but their primary purpose is the development of knowledge for application / accreditation in professional practice. Experiential learning is a common component of the degree. Normally they do not include a requirement to conduct original research.
reactivate Reactivate means to re-open your status as a student at York University. You may have decided to take a break from your studies but now wish to return. As long as you have not studied elsewhere in the meantime, and you were not debarred, you should be able to reactivate your studies here. But you must first fill out a "request for a reactivation" from the Office of the Registrar.
Reactivation The process by which an undergraduate student returns to their studies after an absence from an academic session. Students in good standing resuming their studies and students returning after a Required Withdrawal apply to reactivate their status in a degree program before enrolling in a future session
re-assessment Upon denial of admission to the University or refusal to transfer certain credit courses, the University may agree to assess the courses or admission request once again. This is known as a re-assessment.
reference number Your reference number is a nine-digit number printed on your acknowledgement letter sent out in the mail within two weeks of receiving your application. Use this reference number to check your application status on MyFile.
register You register in a course by paying your fees. Registration does not take place until after you have enrolled in courses.
Reinstatement The process by which a graduate student in good academic standing, and within 12 months of their withdrawal, returns to their studies or to defend a thesis / dissertation.
rescind Rescind means to take away or remove. For instance, if we rescind your offer of admission, this means we have taken the offer back and you are no longer admitted to the University.
residency requirement A minimum of 30 course credits and at least ½ (50%) of the course credits required in each undergraduate degree program major/minor must be taken at York University.
restricted course Restricted courses are courses that require you to obtain permission from a course director, adviser, or other departmental representative before enrolling.
semester A semester is a specific period of academic study. At York University, a year is broken into three academic semesters - September to December; January to April; and May to August.
seminar A seminar generally refers to upper-year courses where the number of students is small and the emphasis is on discussion amongst the professor and his/her students. See also "tutorial".
Session A prescribed period of time designated for the delivery of courses. York’s sessions are Fall/ Winter and Summer. See also Sessional Dates.
Sessional Dates Each academic session is scheduled to provide 12 weeks of teaching and a separate examination schedule. All sessions have beginning, end and suspension dates as governed by the Senate Policy on Sessional Dates and the Scheduling of Examinations.
social sciences The social sciences are a branch of science that deal with the functioning of human society and with the relationships between individuals as members of society. For instance, economics and political science are social sciences that deal with a particular phase or aspect of human society.
Specialization (Graduate) A structured plan of study within a graduate program that provides advanced or in-depth study in a particular focus within the discipline. They are not recorded on either the academic transcript or the degree parchment. Normally a specialization will require a minimum of 12 credits in addition to the core in order to advance the designed depth within the degree program requirements.
Stream (Undergraduate) A structured set of courses with a particular focus within an Honours undergraduate degree program, to provide additional depth within the Major. Appears on the academic transcript but does not appear on the degree parchment. Normally a stream will require a minimum of 12 credits in addition to the core credits in order to advance the depth of the major within the degree program requirements.
student authorization A student authorization legally permits international students to study in Canada. This is granted through the Immigration arm of a Canadian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission.
studio Studio courses are courses in the Fine Arts where the work done is hands-on, i.e. painting, photography, dance, etc.
supplemental calendar See calendar.
supplementary information Some programs and faculties with limited enrolment require their applicants to complete a supplementary information form. This is a form that complements your main application. It provides us with more information about you, such as your goals, past accomplishments, awards and extra-curricular activities.
suspension To receive a suspension means to be required to withdraw from the University for a specific period of time.
Teaching Assistant (TA) A Teaching Assistant is usually a graduate student (someone working towards their Master's or Doctoral degree) who helps the professor run a course. A Teaching Assistant grades assignments, answers questions and holds small discussion groups (tutorials) aimed at discussing class materials.
transcript A transcript is an officially authorized and attested document from an educational institution clearly stating courses completed, duration, grades received, etc. To obtain admission to York University, you are required to submit official transcripts from all your previous schools / universities / colleges.
transfer credit Credit granted towards a York University undergraduate degree / certificate for advanced secondary and / or postsecondary studies (or the equivalent) from an accredited institution. It is given either upon admission / re-admission to York University or for pre-approved studies.
tutorial Tutorials supplement a lecture. A lecture is often held for a large group of students where your ability to interact is more limited than in small classroom settings. All lectures therefore 'break-up' the class into smaller sections, called tutorials, where students have an opportunity to discuss the course materials and assignments and share ideas. Tutorials can be led by the course director (or professor), but can also be led by a Teaching Assistant.
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undergraduate The term undergraduate refers to:
  • a student who has not yet completed a Bachelor's degree;
  • the course of study of a student completing a Bachelor's degree
Undergraduate Certificate

A for credit program of studies attesting to a level of competence or skills in a particular area or field. It is distinct from an undergraduate degree program and stream. A certificate recognizes a specific grouping of courses that i) are cross-disciplinary but with a thematic coherence, ii) form a coherent yet distinctive complement to the major of a degree program, or iii) lead to the acquisition of specific skills or professional expertise that may meet requirements of outside accrediting bodies.

Concurrent Certificate: Completed concurrently with an undergraduate degree program.

Consecutive Certificate: Open to candidates who hold a degree or have significant post-secondary education.

Visa Admitted international students may also require a "Visa" as well as a student authorization to study in Canada. See "student authorization".
visiting students

Individuals who enrol in undergraduate or graduate for-credit courses but do not intend to complete a degree, certificate or diploma at York.

The undergraduate Visiting Students categories are:

  • those who hold an undergraduate degree (bachelors degree minimum) from an accredited university/university-level institution;

  • those who do not hold an undergraduate degree but enrol in courses to fulfill the academic, upgrading or professional development requirements of a professional designation; or

  • those who are currently attending another accredited university and take York courses on a Letter of Permission issued by their home institution.

Under the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Plan, a graduate student registered at a university in Ontario may take graduate courses at another Ontario University without further admission requirements. York University graduate students may complete up to 6 credits in coursework under the OVGS Plan towards any one degree program.

waivers Based on block transfer credit granted a specific degree requirement or rule is satisfied towards a degree.
work study Work/Study is an opportunity for full-time students to work part-time on campus for a certain number of hours during the academic year.
Year of Study An undergraduate student’s progress towards a degree is measured in terms of credits passed rather than years of study completed. A common scale for 90- and 120-credit degrees correlates the number of credits earned and the year of study equivalent; a degree-specific scale exists for the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree. The scales are published in the Undergraduate Calendar.
YU-card YU-card is York’s official photo identification, and campus-wide payment card, for students, faculty and staff. YU-card provides access to several services and spaces across Keele, Glendon and Markham campuses including the library, recreation facilities, exams, food, dining plans, shopping, events, discounts and more.
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